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UMKC business student starts nonprofit tutoring company

While some students let time slip by, John Stamm has been proactive with his college years and tutors area high school students. Stamm, a senior majoring in business and philosophy, started Tutorious, a non-profit tutoring business, in January 2011.

“It took about a year to actually begin tutoring because there are a lot of regulations surrounding the creation of a non-profit,” Stamm said. “It also took a while to convince school districts of our legitimacy as an organization.”

Stamm used to work for a for-profit tutoring company.

“I didn’t think it was fair that only a very small portion of households could afford tutoring,” he said.

Where other tutoring companies charge upwards of $50 per hour, Tutorious offers services to high school students free of charge. Free services are offered to at risk students.

Other programs, like ACT prep courses, are offered at a much lower rate than other tutoring companies offer through what Stamm calls his “Democratize Tutoring” venture.

The “Democratize Tutoring” approach stems from a quote by Henry Ford: “I’m going to democratize the automobile industry.” In so doing, automobiles became affordable for the average American. Stamm is doing the same thing with Tutorious by making it free for many and affordable for others.

His business targets students who would not normally be able to afford a tutor through a private company.

“I decided the best way to address problem would be to build something that could be replicated in other communities,” he said.

Tutorious has contracts with Kansas City public schools, St. Louis public schools, the Atchison, Kan., Unified School District and Alta Vista Charter School.

“Currently, about 30 people are involved in a variety of ways, including tutoring, organizing and business planning,” he said.

Tutors are required to participate in a one hour long tutor training session. There, volunteers learn how to appropriately tutor students and gain confidence in their teaching abilities.

“I find that lots of people are afraid of the idea of tutoring because they are Meredith Shea A&E Editor

While some students let time slip by, John Stamm has been proactive with his college years and tutors area high school students. Stamm, a senior majoring in business and philosophy, started Tutorious, a non-profit tutoring business, in January 2011.

“It took about a year to actually begin tutoring because there are a lot of regulations surrounding the creation of a non-profit,” Stamm said. “It also took a while to convince school districts of our legitimacy as an organization.”

Stamm used to work for a for-profit tutoring company.

“I didn’t think it was fair that only a very small portion of households could afford tutoring,” he said.

Where other tutoring companies charge upwards of $50 per hour, Tutorious offers services to high school students free of charge. Free services are offered to at risk students.

Other programs, like ACT prep courses, are offered at a much lower rate than other tutoring companies offer through what Stamm calls his “Democratize Tutoring” venture.

The “Democratize Tutoring” approach stems from a quote by Henry Ford: “I’m going to democratize the automobile industry.” In so doing, automobiles became affordable for the average American. Stamm is doing the same thing with Tutorious by making it free for many and affordable for others.

His business targets students who would not normally be able to afford a tutor through a private company.

“I decided the best way to address problem would be to build something that could be replicated in other communities,” he said.

Tutorious has contracts with Kansas City public schools, St. Louis public schools, the Atchison, Kan., Unified School District and Alta Vista Charter School.

“Currently, about 30 people are involved in a variety of ways, including tutoring, organizing and business planning,” he said.

Tutors are required to participate in a one hour long tutor training session. There, volunteers learn how to appropriately tutor students and gain confidence in their teaching abilities.

“I find that lots of people are afraid of the idea of tutoring because they are unsure of their abilities. In a nutshell, our training explains that it is okay if you don’t know every answer,” Stamm said.

Creating Tutorious was not as easy as getting a group of people together and calling it good. Stamm had to find school districts willing to allow Tutorious tutors in to help students. It took about a year to get everything in order.

“It took a while to convince school districts of our legitimacy of an organization,” he said.

He also had to file the appropriate paperwork in order to get a 501 (c)3 status from the Internal Revenue Service to act as a not for profit company.

Stamm has advice for other students looking to start their own businesses.

“Network. Meet as many people in your field as you can. Almost all of our growth has been a direct result of meeting the right people,” he said. “Also, be resilient. I can’t count the number of times I’ve failed while trying to get Tutorious up and running.”

Students wishing to get involved with Tutorious can visit www.tutorious.org or search for it on Facebook. Tutorious trains volunteer tutors several times a year and accepts donations on their website.

mshea@unews.com

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